So, yesterday was a fun day. Actually it was a fun day in many ways and an unusual too. I got to meet a fan who is a friend of a friend and discovered she really is a “relative I’d never met before.” In the evening we hit Jeff Duntemann’s party very, very late, and kept the poor man up till all hours (we’re sorry!)
In between there was coming home to a spate of messages from you nuts asking if I was okay, because you heard about a shooting in downtown Colorado Springs and you have a vague idea I live there.
Okay, first trust the media. While the shooting was central-ish it was in an area I’d never have dreamed of walking in alone. With the guys, sometimes, but even then not often. Five (?) years ago a guy was shot in his car outside the Wendy’s a couple of blocks away.
Second: three people does not a spree shooting make. Until more information I’ll assume it was people the murderer knew. (Though suicide-by-cop is not out of the question.)
But I ended up also being got out of bed at an unholy hour by dad, who heard about it in Portugal.
I was testy before.
Before I went to bed yesterday I found the poo flinging monkeys at Vile 770 were merrily scaring themselves with Straw Sarah. I don’t blame them. That chick is a jerk.
BUT what relationship straw Sarah has with me, is quite beyond my ken.
To begin with they laid question to my ethnicity. Which is amusing. They said most Portuguese will slug you if you call them Hispanic. True that. I almost did when the Social Security worker tried to put that on my form. HOWEVER I don’t claim to be Hispanic. The federal government sometimes call me that (it varies wildly and gets into the nitty gritty of various programs and institutions). The Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo is considered a Latino/Hispanic Justice, even though he was of Portuguese ancestry. And the house Hispanic caucus includes Portuguese. (For that matter Portuguese even in Portugal call themselves Latin, too.) They don’t like it? Take it up with Uncle Sam. Take it up with the Europeans who frankly really don’t want any part of Portugal. For years I fought to have me — and the kids — listed as Human, but they wouldn’t accept that. (Possibly because older son looks like a Neanderthal.) Not my circus, not my monkeys. Race and culture are not that important to me now. I’m an American by choice. That is my people. However when you call me a White Mormon Male I’m going to get a little testy.
What really concerned me is that Straw Sarah is APPARENTLY a Salazar supporter. You know, because they heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend that I once said something sympathetic about the regime before the revolution of 75.
First of all I’d like to register that Straw Sarah MUST be older than I. This probably comes from the Luhrid One’s brilliant insight that I’d “run to the US to escape the revolution.” When you consider I was about six when Salazar died ( I THINK I was around six because I have a vague memory of talk about how he had been dead and “in a freezer somewhere” for months, around the time I entered school. And that talk was from my family, who, obviously loved and trusted Big Brother– I mean the government. I don’t have time/interest to look up his date of death.) And the revolution happened right after I turned 11. So if Straw Sarah ran to the US to escape it, she MUST have been either at least 20 (I mean, I’m assuming like me she came to the US after getting married?) or Muslim, which is the only major religion that allows for marriage at that age.
In fact, the revolution in Portugal, which they would know if they weren’t historically illiterate, was not against Salazar, but against his successor who was trying in a ham-fisted way to be the Gorbachev of Portugal. I.e., he was trying to liberalize. Which they’d also understand — if they weren’t historically illiterate — is when revolutions happen. They don’t actually happen against horrible tyranny but against “tyranny going soft.”
BUT none of this resolves the puzzle of Straw Sarah’s existence and why she must have these weird beliefs. Yeah, I grew up in infighting among socialist and communist factions, and being myself I hated them with the fire of a thousand suns. But what part of that means I approved of the previous regime? I mean, I think the French Revolution was an insane waste of life, resources and minds, and scary as hell, and led to Napoleon (more on that later) but must it follow I approved of the ancien regime, which was dictatorial and crazy and capricious, as well as economically outdated and harmful? (All of these apply to Portugal before the 75 revolution, too, btw.)
I figure part of the confusion was seeded by — at some time — my having referred to Salazar as what Roosevelt would have been without the constitution restraining him. I forgot the left considers Roosevelt a good guy and laudable, and they forgot I don’t. Right. But the fact is he actually was a lot like Roosevelt, in both style (anti-bankers, greed, looking out for the little people — all this were part of his rhetoric) beliefs (racial and national purity. Yeah, people who consider Portuguese a separate race worry me) and the idea of socialism and social engineering as a positive good. This was, mind you, because they were both men of their time. Salazar just got to have his way because he took over after a period of anarchy and Portugal is not the US and their freedoms had no defense. That’s about it. He instituted single-payer health and Social Security in Portugal and I actually remember finding one of mom’s books that said that the government would take care of “the little children of the poor from cradle to grave.”
The resulting regime was crazy-cakes economically (Foreign corporations were banned and Coca Cola was the stuff of the devil) made everyone incredibly poor, and was relatively repressive, in a way that’s uniquely Latin. You could be thrown in jail if you were a foreigner and said “F*ck Portugal” in public.
There were also laws on pornography which can only be found in Arab countries. All the awkward covers changed to cover up a woman mildly disrobed in the original American cover? Yep, that. Also because Salazar was raised by Jesuits, the country was aggressively, firmly Catholic. (Some of those laws remained after the revolution. Dad had to go through heck to get me removed from religious education which was mandatory in the high school.)
The country was ALSO anti-communist. (So, you see, there was some good in the regime. 😉 ) This is about the equivalent of saying “I hear Hitler was nice to his mommy” but not quite, since the anti-communist policies kept Portugal from being swallowed up by Franco’s Spain. That’s fine.
For those like the other side not fully up on history, unlike Spain Portugal sat WWII out. I’m informed this makes Portugal an axis ally, unlike the Sainted Swedes. Whatever. Again, this kept Portugal from being swallowed by Spain, which for most of its existence was its raison d’etre, kind of like Canada’s reason for existence is “We’re not American, eh!”
Also a minor correction, there were elections in Portugal before the revolution. They were the single party and the loyal opposition. So your options ran through two parties and from National Socialist to National Social Democrat. Right now, there, they run from Social Democrat to Crazy Cakes Ecological Communist, so as you see, the difference is vast, and things are much freer.
Things are freer, in a way — were after the revolution — for instance, you could have all the porn you wanted. And you no longer had to be a good Catholic. OTOH well… Let’s just say when my nephews had to bathe on arrival to school and wear their hair a certain length it was bullsh*t no American would put up with.
In between there was the time you would get more jail for tearing down communist posters than for drug trafficking. (Of course I did tear the posters down. I came home from school with the scraps stuffed in my bag. Mom would sigh and make the evidence disappear.) The times when the headquarters of all political parties to the right of socialist were firebombed. And the time they tried to house arrest PROMINENT SOCIALISTS, which is the origin of my “facing down the machine guns” story. We were demonstrating in favor of the socialists to prevent the communists (Maoists, actually. What a bag of crazy) from taking full control.
Different ideas of freedom over there, I guess.
The thing that annoyed me about this idiocy, at first, was that the Good Men Regime is in fact based on the regime of Salazar and others like his throughout the world at that time: the paternalistic, man-on-a-white-horse regimes that “will look after you.” There are communists in that world, but they’re a weird quasi-religious sect, not the main bad guys. And I’m fairly sure even the Vile 666 inhabitants would get that if they read the f*cking books. (Okay, their mommies might need to sound out the hard words.)
You see, Salazar (and before him Napoleon, and right now Putin) came to power after a period of instability and cultural humiliation. And he came promising one thing: stability.
He was, btw, an economist. I never checked mom’s and grandma’s stories that the country had gone bankrupt TWICE before he took over, but it makes sense that in those circumstances the man on the white horse would be an economist. AFAICT he was the least imposing of men, and could have been a weaponized Pajamas Boy who got power.
He came promising security and stability, and he delivered that the same way Singapore does, with absolutely disproportionate force.
Which brings us to why I based the Good Men on him: they took over after a period of crazy instability. They promised security. Their death toll (and his) were less than of explosive regimes like Communists or Nazis.
HOWEVER that’s the overt death toll. There is the other death toll. By keeping Portugal locked in a paternalistic regime that kept the economy chugging ever smaller at about a late 19th century level, how many people died of preventable diseases if they’d been better nourished? (Most of my mom’s generation. Half of my age group.) How many people were never well enough to create or invent, or be productive? How many lives were blighted?
There is no way to tell but I’d guess hundreds of thousands. More maybe, if you consider the ripples of such things throughout time to the present.
The soft tyranny that promises “security” and “stability” is ALWAYS a death trap. Which is why I’ve warned crazies on both sides who WANT war and revolution that the end result is usually the Man On The White horse and the sort of soft tyranny that gives you security, stability… and death. Long term, generations-blighting death.
It is that sort of thing that terrifies me because I see the West heading that way at a gallop as a reaction to the communists/socialists and their craziness.
So, the misrepresentation of my ideas upset me a tad. BUT NOT NEARLY AS MUCH AS IT WORRIED ME.
It worried me first of all because of what it shows on the other side. They’re so determined to find a protective and fatherly government they can’t conceive of someone disapproving of one form of tyranny without approving of another. This craziness on the part of nominally educated people will be the death of the west. It’s an infantile reaction on others to wipe their butts for them, which will lead to their deaths and ours.
And it worried me secondarily because I’ve been d*mn good lately and frankly the Sad Puppies thing is more or less dormant. However, this week there was the loony Wired article and THIS fascinating obsession on Straw Sarah.
It still shocks me a little that large MSM publications have waded into this with a pre-prepared narrative. And it worries me more that they’re trying so hard to create Straw Sarah.
I know what it is. It’s an attempt to silence opposition.
These children (some of them in their seventies) think that if they character-assassinate you, you’ll hide and shut up. And they think that’s the equivalent of victory.
They don’t realize that even if they succeeded in shutting us all up, we’d not stop resenting them. In fact, resentment would grow.
They also don’t realize they’re NOT the hard regime who can keep rebellion from happening. That would have been Roosevelt. (No, really, study history.) They’re the soft namby pamby regime who just wants everyone to say as they say and who has panic attacks when we don’t.
And that means their continuous attempts to tamp us down only make us rise up. And that in the end we win, they lose.
Now if they could stop making sure that they push us towards turmoil and the emergence of a man on a white horse, I’d be ever so grateful.
Whether weaponized pajamas boys or pseudo right wing financiers with bad hairdos, I have no use for Good Men.
Me and mine will seek freedom. And socialists and communists of all stripes can stop imagining we love one form of socialism and hate the other.
It’s freedom we love, and you would too, if you could grow up enough to comprehend it.
Freedom and a respect for the rights of individuals is messy, nasty and often means people will disagree with you and “trigger” you. It means your favorite “scientific” government ideas might not carry through, even if they would be in fact better than what carries through.
And it is the philosophy of government that has made humanity for the last century and a half rise above short, brutish and nasty lives.
The choice is never between ice-cream and death. Grown ups know this, and they treasure the freedom to choose the least of two evils.